Pursue an Alternative Career in Resort Management

Learn how to pursue an alternative career in resort management from T.A. Scott's firsthand report.

| July/August 1979

My family and I had reached what appeared to be a dead end. We had spent years planning to move to the country, buy land, and build our own home . . . but found it impossible to save up enough money to finance our dream, especially since the cost of land here in California jumps yearly.

When we had just about given up on our back-to-the-land ambitions, however, some friends told us about an opening for a manager/caretaker of an older, 120-acre resort in northern California. Despite our lack of experience, the owners (who live 100 miles away) offered us the job.

That opportunity forced me to make a major decision: Should I quit my secure state job which had provided a livable income for 10 years to take a position that paid almost nothing? Even though most of my fellow workers thought I was crazy, I gave my notice, and two weeks later we moved.

Learn As You Go

Although my wife did have some business experience — and I could change a fuse and put a new washer in a faucet — we knew nothing at all about resort management. (We didn't even own a pickup truck . . . and I was forced to haul away campground-sized loads of garbage in my VW bug!)

However, through the process of trial and error, we've begun to master this new business. The biggest points in our favor — right from the beginning — have been our willingness to work hard and our honesty. Moreover, the whole family has figured out ways to "pull together" in order to take care of the 21-site campground, six housekeeping cabins, lodge, and large swimming pool . . . plus the immediate grounds and a five-acre walnut and fruit tree orchard. We deal with anywhere from one to one hundred vacationers a day . . . and — after the first summer I'll have to admit that I was ready for the "holidays" to end!

Not that there isn't plenty of work to be done in the winter time, too: During the off-season we cut and split wood, keep the gravity-flow water system open, and prepare the resort for the coming spring. Yet the only time clock we punch is our own schedule . . . and if we feel like going for a walk in the middle of the day, we're free to do so.

5/8/2010 10:22:22 AM

How do we find people like this for our resort????

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